As watershed landscapes have been transformed to accommodate agriculture and urbanization, non-point source pollution has emerged as an important environmental issue, and riparian forest buffers (RFB) are recommended to control the flow of pollution into stream ecosystems. The Natural Resources Conservation Service recommends that RFBs have a width of at least 30 meters to protect water quality from surface runoff and non-point source pollution. The water quality, RFBs, and land uses within two tributaries of the Canandaigua Lake Watershed were investigated to determine if a positive correlation exists between water quality and RFB width as well as to determine if the 30 meter buffers were in place and adequate to protect water quality. Benthic macroinvertebrate collection and identification were used to assess water quality at seven sites, while geographic information systems and the L-THIA runoff model were used to quantify RFB width, land use, and runoff. A statistical analysis of the seven data points showed that there is not enough evidence to conclude that a significant positive correlation exists between water quality and RFB width. However, the data suggest that a correlation may exist, and additional sample collection may show that the correlation is significant.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Water quality--New York (State)--Canandaigua Lake; Watershed ecology; Riparian forests; Land use-- New York (State)--Canandaigua Lake; Canandaigua Lake (N.Y.)
Environmental Science (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences (COS)
Rider, Trish, "Effects of riparian forest buffers on water quality in the Canandaigua Lake Watershed" (2004). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus